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TCU vs. West Virginia: Keys to the Game

Here’s how TCU can get to 5-0.

SMU v TCU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Coming off a big win at Oklahoma State, followed by a bye week, TCU now hosts West Virginia as a top ten team, with GameDay coming to town. The hype around this weekend is insane, and the Frogs now have the target on their back.

Here’s are some things TCU can do to come away with win No. 5 on the season.

1. Slow down Justin Crawford

A lot of the focus when talking about West Virginia’s No. 2 ranked offense has been on Will Grier, and rightfully so. But, one of the things that sets up the Mountaineer passing game is their powerful ground game, led by Justin Crawford.

Crawford has run for 458 yards on 61 carries this season (7.4 yards per carry), with six touchdowns. He’s the best back TCU will have seen to this point, and the Frogs’ 13th best rushing defense in the country will absolutely be tested.

2. Get Pressure with four

Patterson said earlier in the week that the difference between planning to stop Will Grier vs. Mason Rudolph is that Grier has the ability to run a bit. So, if TCU needs to spy Grier to keep him from running, the defensive line has to do two things.

First, they have to collapse the pocket up the middle, keeping Grier from getting comfortable in the pocket and able to step into his throws. Second, they have to contain on the edges. Mat Boesen and Ben Banogu have to keep Grier from getting loose and escaping the pocket.

3. Run the ball again and again

It’s a well known fact that West Virginia’s run defense ranks 114th in the country, and they give up over 5 yards per carry. Darius Anderson, Kyle Hicks, and Sewo Olonilua have a real opportunity to exploit a weakness in WVU’s team.

4. Stay balanced on offense

As much as the run game will be important in this game, the Frogs have to stay balanced on offense. Kenny Hill has to be the accurate, 2017 version we have seen to this point. As not great as WVU’s run defense is, their secondary is pretty stout. While the turnovers haven’t been there, the Mountaineers have two of the best DBs in the Big 12, in Kyzir White and Kenny Robinson.

5. Stay below the hype

TCU is pretty much in the exact position Oklahoma State was two weeks ago. Top 10 team, at home, looking like a darkhorse playoff contender. With GameDay coming, and the Frogs a 13-point favorite, everything is setting up just like it did two weeks ago.

TCU has to stay level-headed Saturday, and stay away from the hype. Patterson is best when his team is the underdog, but TCU is far from that right now.